An investigation into the sinking of the 58-foot F/V Pacific Knight near Clark’s Point in Bristol Bay, Alaska – an incident in which one crew member was lost, while two others were rescued by good Samaritans from the F/V Amanda C – is underway.
According to the US Coast Guard an estimated 800 gallons of diesel and 300 gallons of hydraulic fluid were on board when the vessel sank on July 25. How much of that fuel spilled, creating a sheen on the water that prompted closure of the Nushagak district of Bristol Bay, is still undetermined.
The fishery was reopened on the afternoon of July 31, after two days of aerial surveys showed no visible sheen, according to Tim Sands, area management biologist at Dillingham for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
According to Todd Duke, general manager for Resolve Magone Marine Services (Alaska) Corp. in Anchorage, Alaska, it will take several weeks to remove the vessel. Meanwhile, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) plans to attempt to refloat the vessel in future dive operations. Poor visibility, severe currents and deck gear have restricted dive operations.
Lone Fisherman, Inc. was identified as the responsible party for the Pacific Knight.
DEC officials said the vessel owner was working with the Coast Guard and had hired Resolve Magone. Sockeyes are still plentiful in the Nushagak district, with nearly 24 million of the red salmon harvested so far this season, and fishing still underway for pink and silver salmon.
At this time of year Nushagak Bay supports all five species of Pacific salmon, several commercially important ground fish species, marine mammals, sea birds, shorebirds, waterfowl and eagles. The shorelines west of Nushagak Bay are part of Togiak National Wildlife Refuge.
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